Political parties are an important institutional component of liberal democracy and successful electoral machination and processes. Parties produce the candidates, set the parameters of issues and political agenda within which elections are to be fought and are furthermore expected to perform these duties from one election to another (IDEA, 2000: 226-227). Political parties are a form of human organization concerned with the expression of popular preferences, political choices and a means of controlling the policy making structures of the ‘government’. They serve a primary purpose in the struggle to place and maintain in office persons who would, alone or in coalition, control the machinery of ‘government’ and translate aggregated interest into national public policies (Momoh and Adejumobi, 1999:113). In a democracy, the existence of political parties is very essential, owing to the important roles they play. This is in consonance with Agbaje (1999:197) who opined and explicated “there is no doubt that political parties are central to the longevity and vitality of democracy, and that their ability to aggregate freely, articulate, represent and organize within set limits is what determines the extent and contours of accountability in public life, including access to and use of power, as well as public performance”. The study indeptly cross-examined the various lingering issues that characterized the actions and inactions of various actors in political parties in Oyo State and their activities which have led to instability in the state, thereby affecting the functionality of a virile democracy as a pivotal instrument to the development of improvement of the dividends of our nascent democratic virtues and ethos whimsically and capriciously. The paper argues that, the instability in Oyo State as the capital of the “old western region” has caused various crises within the state and which by implication if not resolved could affect the entire system. The various individual roles and the concept of godfather have divided the parties in the state into factions and consequentially, the government house as well. The instability in Oyo State, caused by the political party of dominance in the state which is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has given birth to various challenges that affected interest aggregation and sustenance of democracy in the Nigerian Fourth Republic.
Key words: Political parties, democracy, instability, politics of acrimony, ethnic animosities, party politics.
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